By Robert Reich
I’ve been in or around politics for over a half century now, and I never imagined how low and looney the Republican Party would become. Eleven Republican senators and senators-elect said today they will vote to reject President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory next Wednesday when Congress meets to formally certify it.
They are joining a growing movement in the GOP to defy the unambiguous results of the 2020 presidential election and support Trump’s bizarre attempt to remain in power with false claims of voting fraud.
Remember: Every state has now certified the election results after verifying their accuracy. Several underwent post-election audits or hand counts. At the same time, judges across America, including Supreme Court justices, have rejected nearly 60 attempts by Trump and his allies to challenge the results.
None of the eleven Republican senators who say they will vote to invalidate the results of the election has made any specific allegations of fraud. At most, they offer vague statements that some wrongdoing may have occurred.
Their most specific grounds for contesting the certification is that many of their supporters believe Trump’s claims of fraud – which is circular reasoning, since Trump and many of these same senators have been arguing since the election that fraud occurred without offering any evidence.
The sedition of these eleven United States senators – and I use that term advisedly – will not alter the outcome of the election. It is purely for show, as have been so much of Trump’s and his enablers’ actions. But the show itself will be a brawl that will only serve to validate in the minds of many of Trump’s supporters his baseless claims – dividing America even more.
The one consolation, if it can be called that, is that their cynical ploy will also force other Republican members of Congress to openly choose between doing their constitutional duty and accepting the results of the election, or displaying brazen loyalty to a fading demagogue who has sought to turn the GOP into a personal cult. In short, it will smoke them out: They must openly choose democracy or fascism.
The rest of us can only watch and take careful note. Rarely in American history has a symbolic act carried such significance for the future of the country.